Anila Gonsalves always knew that being a mother comes with its fair share of responsibilities and challenges, but little did she know that motherhood would also bring out the innovator in her.
This is her story; a mother who became an innovator with the creation of a mobile app, FABULAA. Her inspiration is her older son who, at two years of age, was diagnosed with autism.
A mother’s inspiration
Sharing with The Brew, Anila remembers the first time when she received her son’s diagnosis. “It was intimidating, and I didn’t have all the answers. I remember the fear, the confusion and the helplessness. But we had to be determined if we needed results. Through multiple therapy sessions and meetings with specialists I realized that my son, like many others, was more receptive to learning and communicating with visual cues. This formed the pathway for Fabulaa, to use Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) methodology and contains various features.”
Anila’s son, now 6, lacked natural speech and the ability to express his feelings; understanding each other and communication was thus very difficult. Learning also did not come easily to this boy which led to many sleepless nights for Anila.
Acceptance, a catalyst
Instead of living in denial, she wanted to make things better for her son. Acceptance was the catalyst that was required to seek a solution for her son’s disability. When a mother turns to be an innovator, her innovation comes with love, human value, compassion and mothering experience.
And this is how Fabulaa began to take shape. Fabulaa was conceived to be a digital assistive tool designed to simplify the life of those individuals who struggle with simple daily conversations. Conversational breakdowns are common among people who are but not limited to hard of hearing, battling autism, or suffering from speech delays.
“While researching and working on multiple therapies and tools, I realised that every parent wants to do what’s best for their children. But many of us are limited by high treatment costs and lack of accessibility. Technology plays a key part in treatment and learning and is a great enabler for People of Determination (POD). With Fabulaa, we give a chance to everybody to get a feel of what AAC tools and other features can do help.” Anila reveals.
Anila added that “my son had a lot of difficulty in communication as he lacked natural speech which resulted in social isolation, breakdowns and increased frustration. But I realized that he like many others was more receptive to learning and communicating with visual cues”. With Fabulaa, she wants to make technology accessible to all. This is why Fabulaa is free to download app (iOS and Android), giving everyone a chance to try it out. Fabulaa consists of 4 main features bundled together in one great app.
“A mother is the first teacher for children. Using this emotional connection, we want to provide users, parents and caregivers, a simple adaptive way to reach out to their loved ones who struggle to communicate. We encourage everyone to download Fabulaa and see how it can work for you,” says Anila.
Paying it forward with Fabulaa
Currently, Fabulaa is available in five languages – English, Hindi, Spanish, French and Portuguese. Plans are currently underway to develop an Arabic version in the next 6 months. The second phase of the development of the app will see individual customizations for both individuals and enterprises.
Anila concludes, “In the last couple of years we have had many well-wishers who have extended help in different ways. Fabulaa is one of my ways to pay it forward. I know what it means and the emotions one goes through because I’ve been there. We hope that with the app, the bond and togetherness with your loved one grows stronger. I am also in touch with many schools and organisations to maximise its reach and awareness”.
“As a takeaway message, I would request all the parents not to go with the social stigma. If you can identify the problem with any child around you, please speak up and urge the parents to seek professional help. Early intervention is essential”.
About the app
Fabulaa is a free to use mobile app, inspired by Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) methodology and can be downloaded from the iOS and Google Play Store. It is available in English, Hindi, Portuguese, Spanish and French. Fabulaa helps equip individuals with tools that aim to ease the struggle of simple daily conversations. To know more, visit: www.fabulaa.app